What about Westernization?
Sept. 2, 1972, was a day that changed Winthrop forever. Yet, no one in Winthrop seems to realize it was 50 years ago since the North Cascades Scenic Highway opened. For better or worse, people worked many hours and many years to open the picturesque mountains for a route to western Washington.
The other happening on Sept. 2, 1972, was the unveiling of a gift from Katherine Wagner. Her dream of bringing back important history of Winthrop for all to see and marvel at. The four years of planning and working on the Westernization of Winthrop was a monumental gift. There was a bumper sticker back then that said “Where the Hell is Winthrop, Wa.” Business owners could not close for the winter anymore.
I have always been a community-spirited person and I truly love Winthrop. So it was with heavy heart that I watched the townspeople fly right by the 50th anniversary of Westernization of Winthrop. The mayor said to my husband and me that the Westernization worked for 50 years but it’s not important anymore. Trails are what people want. After hearing the exact wording from council members, I’m aware the stewardship of Winthrop is somewhere between absent or lacking. Do day trippers driving into Winthrop stop because of trails or because the town looks unique?
I guess there are no marketing directors within the business owners. The free advertising would have been overwhelming. I hope the new additions of the library, fire hall and skating rink aren’t forgotten in 50 years because no less work went into making Winthrop Western.
Thank you to the Shafer Museum for remembering.
Carol A. Lester
About the parks
North Cascades National Park is essential to the life blood of the Methow Valley, both financially and spiritually. We are its eastern gateway and bed base. It’s part our great national park system, addressed in the new Jonathan Jarvis book which advocates freeing the National Park Service from its current political restraints.
As a retired NPS ranger and naturalist with five summers in our park and 15 winters guiding helicopter skiers in the high country, which is often mistakenly identified as part of the park, plus many more years and summers in other national parks such as Olympic, I strongly recommend this Jarvis book. It is an extremely detailed account of the political corruption of “America’s greatest idea.” The North Central Library has a copy, plus it’s widely available in bookstores and online.
Jonathan Jarvis was the first national park director who skied, and his older brother Destry worked both within the NPS, but mostly for NGOs like the National Park Conservation Association. This is the best book yet about what sustains places like us here in the Methow.